Warner Bros. nears closing a deal for Harry Potter online TV series: Sources

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. is close to a deal for a new online TV series based on Harry Potter, the best-selling young adult books, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Each season of the series will be based on one of JK Rowling’s seven books, said the people, who asked not to be identified since the deal hasn’t been announced, suggesting years of fresh fare from the popular stories.

The company is hoping the series can be one cornerstone of a new streaming strategy that will be announced next week by HBO’s parent, Warner Bros.

The company’s chief executive officer, David Zaslav, and HBO chief Casey Bloys have worked to convince Rowling to produce a new series, but the deal hasn’t been completed.

The series would allow the writers to delve further into the world of Rowling’s books, many of which are longer than 500 pages. Warner Bros. previously turned each of the seven books into a hit movie, culminating in a two-part film based on the final installment.

Warner Bros. has been eager to do more with one of the best-selling book series of all-time. While Rowling blessed a stage play adaptation and a theme-park attraction, she had yet to sign off on new movies or a TV show.

A spokesman for Warner Bros. declined to comment.

The author will be involved in the series to ensure it remains loyal to her original material but will not run the show day to day or serve as its primary creator, the people said. Rowling has at times generated controversy with remarks about the trans community.

Warner Bros. is preparing to announce a new streaming strategy, including the name Max for its flagship online service, which debuted as HBO Max. Key to that strategy will be having new content, especially films and TV shows based on stories and characters that viewers already know.

Warner Bros. has a deep library of programs that fit the bill, including Rowling’s Wizarding World, the Lord of the Rings material and a league of superheroes that includes Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Zaslav has decided he wants to invest in fewer movies and TV shows and have the ones the company does make be of a higher caliber. In February he announced that the company would be making a new series of films based on Lord of the Rings, although details still have to be worked out.

The Harry Potter books tell the story of a young wizard whose parents were slain when he was an infant and is then raised by his non-magical aunt and uncle. He discovers he is a wizard and is invited to attend Hogwarts, the world’s leading school for wizards.

The Potter brand has spawned a series of successful products and spinoffs. Working with Salt Lake City-based Avalanche Software, Warner Bros. in February published the highly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy, a role play game based on the Potter world.

The series has also spawned a stage production, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

But it’s the books themselves and the seven films that have had the largest impact. According to the US publisher Scholastic Corp., the book series has sold 600 million copies in 85 languages over 25 years, becoming the all-time bestseller.

The eight films based on the series generated worldwide ticket sales of more than $7.7 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.

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